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UNIWORLD...nonexistent customer service!

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After sending a five page letter to Uniworld's Guest Relations describing the many issues we had on board the S.S. Maria Theresa, we finally received a letter back of apology which conveniently ignored most of the issues described in my letter to Uniworld.  After receiving Uniworld's ridiculous response, we called Uniworld's Manager of Guest Relations and left numerous messages requesting our call be returned.  Another call was placed to Uniworld's main number and the representative said she would email the Manager of Guest Relations to call me back.  I am still waiting to hear from the Manager of Guest Relations!  

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Good luck. We were on the Maria Theresa and had many issues.  Meals were sub par at best . Tours were haphazard with uninterested guides.  We have cruised Uniworld in previous years . The 2018 product does not resemble what we experienced in years past.  

While on board we mentioned issues to management who always replied that they would discuss with their colleagues.   .  We wrote a polite letter to Uniworld  at the conclusion of the trip, and received the same reply as you. 

They remind me of an airline that went out of business due to poor customer service.  

There are many lines now emerging in the high end river cruise ; no need to pay and not receive.

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I am really concerned. We were on the Maria Theresa last November from Budapest to Passau and enjoyed that cruise so much we are doing European Jewels on November 10 this year.....Budapest to Amsterdam. Like you, we are very experienced cruisers, and tend to be somewhat critical, but our 2017 experience could not have been better and we could not think of enough nice things to say about Uniworld. We are on the River Duchess this year. I am growing increasingly alarmed by the negative reviews I have been seeing, and not just from the two of you, Many Cruises and Shoeman1. 

The only thing I noticed was that the beautiful concert in Vienna that was an included excursion last year, now must be paid for separately. I am particularly alarmed because I saw a mention that the gentle walking tours had been eliminated, and those were very important to us. I called Uniworld when I saw that review and was assured they were still available.

Geez!

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I still can't believe I haven't received a call back.  Uniworld was supposed to have a 6 star rating...in my book it doesn't come close.  The food was subpar and the noise in the dining room was terribly loud.  Where are you Guest Relations???  

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5 minutes ago, Begete said:

I am really concerned. We were on the Maria Theresa last November from Budapest to Passau and enjoyed that cruise so much we are doing European Jewels on November 10 this year.....Budapest to Amsterdam. Like you, we are very experienced cruisers, and tend to be somewhat critical, but our 2017 experience could not have been better and we could not think of enough nice things to say about Uniworld. We are on the River Duchess this year. I am growing increasingly alarmed by the negative reviews I have been seeing, and not just from the two of you, Many Cruises and Shoeman1. 

The only thing I noticed was that the beautiful concert in Vienna that was an included excursion last year, now must be paid for separately. I am particularly alarmed because I saw a mention that the gentle walking tours had been eliminated, and those were very important to us. I called Uniworld when I saw that review and was assured they were still available.

Geez!

They did have gentle walkers tours 2 weeks ago, unfortunately the guide kept having personal conversations with one of the walkers and she let him take over the tour.  We ended up leaving that group and joined another.  The walking tours were mediocre at best.  

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4 hours ago, Begete said:

I am really concerned. We were on the Maria Theresa last November from Budapest to Passau and enjoyed that cruise so much we are doing European Jewels on November 10 this year.....Budapest to Amsterdam.

Unless there is a lot of rain not currently on the forecasts, the odds are you will not be sailing from Budapest at all ...

 

we we are sailing the other way with APT on the same day and we expect to hear it is cancelled inthe next couple of weeks ...

 

 

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Begete , our cruise with Uniworld in 2017 was delightful.  We had superb cuisine and terrific guides. The 2018 cruise on Maria Theresa was the total opposite.  Penny pinching is the rule of the day.  Let me give you a few examples.  Breakfast had one fresh fruit, a bowl of some sort of yogurt, no danish pastries, frozen crossants, ice cold muffin and doughnut, yuk.  There was a chef making egg dishes to order; she would disappear an hour before breakfast ended.  Any items left were recycled to bizarre concoctions such as red cabbage with white rice.  

We did attend the Mozart Concert in Vienna.  It was delightful and part of the tour.  On the bus returning to the ship the guide reiterated that a snack was awaiting. Imagine seeing goulash soup and hot dogs at 10:30pm.  

If you are thinking that Uniworld will reply , forget it.  Move on .

 

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I don't understand how Uniworld is so highly rated.  Our experience was not a luxury one, not even a middle of the road one.  I will keep calling the Guest Relations Manager until someone responds... hopefully the Guest Relations Manager!

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I can’t understand Uniworld’s high rating either unless they have drastically changed things from last year. I did notice some strange food concoctions especially at the lunch buffet. Even so the experience on the ship was leaps and bounds better than our experience after being pulled off the ship for the last 4 days to be bused and put in hotels. There was nothing resembling luxury or even seeming like they cared about anything other than getting us to the final destination. 

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1 hour ago, RiverCruiseKim said:

I can’t understand Uniworld’s high rating either unless they have drastically changed things from last year. I did notice some strange food concoctions especially at the lunch buffet. Even so the experience on the ship was leaps and bounds better than our experience after being pulled off the ship for the last 4 days to be bused and put in hotels. There was nothing resembling luxury or even seeming like they cared about anything other than getting us to the final destination. 

 

Yikes.....what boat/ship were you on? Which cruise?

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Begete, we were on S.S. Antoinette from Basel to Amsterdam beginning 10/14. We were first time cruisers but even experienced cruisers on the ship were complaining how this was handled by Uniworld.  

Edited by RiverCruiseKim

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If Uniworld is going to remain a competitor of Tauck, they should respond to their letters and phone calls sent to guest relations.  Apparently, the manager of guest relations never listens or responds to her emails and phone messages.  If problems like these occurred with Tauck, customers would be treated as if they mattered and not ignored.  If Uniworld can't provide the product they advertise, they should cancel that particular river cruise instead of throwing away their customers very costly vacation.      

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Why not post something on their FB page, or Twitter, or Instagram feed? 

 

Their CEO is Ellen Bettridge, perhaps someone has a direct contact for her. (She has her own twitter and IG feeds as well)

 

Robin

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I am surprised to read all the issues you all have had.  We just completed a Uniworld Budapest to  Amsterdam cruise this past Saturday. Albeit that we had to swap ships twice causing us to experience the cuisine of three ships staffs. They seemed to compete with each other to out perform one another in the food and service as well as offer us extra on board credit and a significant discount on a future cruise due to the issue of the swaps packing and unpacking.  I am assuming it is due to the local cruise director and how he/she handles the situation.  The captains we encountered and the staffs were excellent as well.  We knew well before we left late in September early October that there might be swaps and that the rivers were low.  Our rain dance and prayers were not effective it seems.

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We did Budapest to Passau on the SS Mara Theresa in July and it was FANTASTIC! We are experienced cruisers and also love land tours and traveling on our own. The included excursions were nice the food was (mostly) delicious, the service was outstanding. We met nice people and had a great time. We also did 2 nights in Budapest and a few nights in Prague on our own.  Really a practically perfect vacation. Probably second only to our trip to Peru (not a on a cruise)That being said there were 2 or 3 couples on our trip  that did nothing but complain about everything all the time. So if they were the ones reviewing the trip it would sound like a totally different ship

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I am looking at a cruise with Uniworld for the spring......sorry there seems to be so many issues:(…...I have read some very, very good reviews of them too....hmmmm…..

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Bill and twoboys, thanks for posting. I'm feeling more positive now about our upcoming cruise on the Maria Theresa. After having cruised 6 rivers with Uniworld with excellent service and excursions, even though twice we had itinerary changes due to high water, I was disappointed to read the negative reviews on this thread.

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1 hour ago, BillPizzaiolo said:

I am surprised to read all the issues you all have had.  We just completed a Uniworld Budapest to  Amsterdam cruise this past Saturday. Albeit that we had to swap ships twice causing us to experience the cuisine of three ships staffs. They seemed to compete with each other to out perform one another in the food and service as well as offer us extra on board credit and a significant discount on a future cruise due to the issue of the swaps packing and unpacking.  I am assuming it is due to the local cruise director and how he/she handles the situation.  The captains we encountered and the staffs were excellent as well.  We knew well before we left late in September early October that there might be swaps and that the rivers were low.  Our rain dance and prayers were not effective it seems.

 

49 minutes ago, twoboys said:

We did Budapest to Passau on the SS Mara Theresa in July and it was FANTASTIC! We are experienced cruisers and also love land tours and traveling on our own. The included excursions were nice the food was (mostly) delicious, the service was outstanding. We met nice people and had a great time. We also did 2 nights in Budapest and a few nights in Prague on our own.  Really a practically perfect vacation. Probably second only to our trip to Peru (not a on a cruise)That being said there were 2 or 3 couples on our trip  that did nothing but complain about everything all the time. So if they were the ones reviewing the trip it would sound like a totally different ship

 

47 minutes ago, Lois R said:

I am looking at a cruise with Uniworld for the spring......sorry there seems to be so many issues:(…...I have read some very, very good reviews of them too....hmmmm…..

 

19 minutes ago, jklc123 said:

Bill and twoboys, thanks for posting. I'm feeling more positive now about our upcoming cruise on the Maria Theresa. After having cruised 6 rivers with Uniworld with excellent service and excursions, even though twice we had itinerary changes due to high water, I was disappointed to read the negative reviews on this thread.

So happy to read your responses, Bill and twoboys! I, too, am looking forward to another exceptional cruise with Uniworld this December, after two cruises that have been above and beyond in terms of all expectations. If our next cruise is anything less than that, I will be back with a full review. That said, I tend to take everything with a grain of salt and hope for the best. Given Uniworld's reputation, I expect they will deal with any issues in an appropriate manner.

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Uniworld is being swamped with complaint calls.  All of your positive attitudes are great until something happens to you.  When I spend over $13,000.00 for a luxury cruise, I expect that type of vacation.  Unfortunately, what we experienced was far below that standard, and we did not get the vacation we paid for in any way, shape, or form.

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For those of you who don't believe passenger's negative Uniworld reviews, you may want to read many of them on Uniworld's Facebook Public Post area.  Make sure you have plenty of time and then decide if they are truthful! 

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Just keep in mind that booking a cruise shouldn’t be like a spin on the roulette wheel and just because it is written in the contract doesn’t make it a valid get out clause for the cruise company. I have every sympathy for them from a business perspective, but we are long past the point where they can claim to have been surprised by the river conditions so any of the lines deciding to proceed with a cruise instead of cancelling better be very clear upfront with their guests about what to expect. 

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Uniworld Terms and Conditions:

 

.

Itinerary Changes: You can count on the value of Uniworld’s experience and regional knowledge to make sure you enjoy your cruise-tour even when conditions beyond our control occur. The very nature of a river, its sources, and networks of bridges and locks, means that there will be times when weather or other conditions in a region require Uniworld to make adjustments and/or modifications to an itinerary. Although every effort will be made to keep itineraries, vessels, and hotels as they are shown in the brochure, Uniworld reserves the right to substitute itineraries, hotels or vessels. In such cases, we will do everything we can to make sure the locations visited, the excursions taken and the hotels or vessels offered are similar to the ones originally planned. Any changes to itineraries will not result in eligibility for a refund. Itineraries are subject to change without notice and may need to be altered specifically because of water levels, wind factors, or other conditions. Guests who choose to cancel or interrupt their cruise or cruise-tour due to an itinerary change will be subject to our standard Cancellation Policy.

 

LEGAL NOTES

USTOA LogoResponsibility and Waiver: The responsibility of Uniworld River Cruises, Inc., (“Uniworld”) is strictly limited. Uniworld promotes and sells tour programs consisting of certain travel services on the cruise ships (“Vessels”) or other modes of transport (“Transport”). Uniworld does not own or operate any of the Vessels/Transport. The owners, operators and charterers (“Suppliers”) of the Vessels/Transport are independent of Uniworld. Uniworld makes no representations or warranties concerning the Suppliers or the Vessels/Transport. We assume no liability for any acts or omissions of any Supplier including, without limitation, those involving cancellation of tours/cruises, schedule changes, rerouting, delays, damage to or loss of baggage, property damage, equipment failures, accidents, death or injuries to persons regardless of cause, whether or not services are tendered or transportation provided is arranged through Uniworld. Accordingly, you will not have any right to claim or recover against Uniworld as a consequence of any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any Suppliers or the condition or operation of any Vessel/Transport. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the liabilities and obligations of the Suppliers to you and your rights against the Suppliers, are subject to any and all terms and conditions of the Suppliers’ contract of carriage and any and all governmental/jurisdictional laws and regulations bearing upon or otherwise relating to such rights, liabilities and obligations, including, without limitation, choice of law, jurisdiction of disputes, limitations of liability and limitations on the time to file claims. By utilizing the travel services of the Suppliers, you agree that you will look to such Suppliers for any accident, death, injury, property damage, or personal loss to you or to those traveling with you, and that neither Uniworld nor any representative of Uniworld shall have any liability whatsoever.

 

Agreement: The payment of a deposit and/or the issuance of tickets or vouchers shall be deemed your consent to the terms and conditions as presented herein. It is specifically agreed that this agreement is entered into in Los Angeles County, California, and in the event any legal or equitable action is initiated concerning the interpretation, enforcement, or breach of any term, obligation, or duty as contained or related to these Terms and Conditions, the exclusive venue for such action shall be solely in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, Van Nuys District. This agreement shall be construed in accordance with California law without regard to conflicts of law principles.

 

 

YOUR PASSENGER TICKET CONTRACT

Transportation aboard the ship is provided solely by the Suppliers (ship owners and charterers) pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Passenger Ticket Contract that you will receive prior to embarkation. A copy of the Passenger Ticket Contract will be provided with your final documentation or earlier upon request or can be viewed on our website at uniworld.com. Please note the Passenger Ticket Contract includes a clause specifying the courts of Basel, Switzerland as the exclusive forum for resolving disputes. The Passenger Ticket Contract is governed by the law of Switzerland and is subject to limitations of liability and time limits for making claims under the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and Their Luggage by Sea, 1974 (“Athens Convention”) and the International Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (“1976 Convention”).

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Many of our issues with this trip were not caused by low water levels, and some were.  The major issue is that Uniworld has been unresponsive to letters and phone calls.  There is no reason for this unresponsiveness from this company.  Obviously, their guest relations department has been swamped, but you would expect common courtesy from a company that ranks where they do.

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Men’s suit is un-needed. I wore my blue blazer to Capt’s reception and not once after that. The weather was in the mid 70’s but it might be cooler than that. We had free laundry as well. It was very convenient. Four stuffed laundry bags spread out over the trip for the two of us. Friends used the washing machines frequently. If I was doing it again I would just take minimum layers of clothes. I made very good use of a vest that had zip off sleeves and many large pockets. Never used our rain gear though that we would hope changes. If you don’t bring any that might gaurentee rain. Just keep it simple and minimal. You can always buy stuff you need in the many towns and markets. Traveling can be an adventure if you have that mindset. Good luck. 

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